Jack Ma Wanted to Give Beijing Stake in Ant Financial


Jack Ma has offered the Chinese authorities part of his financial services provider Ant Financial to save that company’s IPO.

The American business newspaper The Wall Street Journal writes this based on insiders. The offer is said to have been made in early November when it became clear that China might want to stop Ant’s IPO.

Ant Financial would go public last month in the largest IPO ever. A few days before that, the Chinese authorities decided to stop the IPO. For this, they referred to changed regulations without providing any further explanation.

Ma had angered the Chinese government when he said in an October speech that a campaign by President Xi Jinping against excessive financial risk would limit innovation.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Ant and Ma had talks with regulators ahead of the planned IPO date. The Chinese billionaire, who is also behind the online store and internet giant Alibaba, is said to have made a sacrifice there. According to the insiders, Ma said China could have “any platform Ant has” if the country needed it.

Until now, China has not accepted the offer. The country has been working on tackling major tech companies such as Alibaba and Tencent more strictly for some time now. Other large companies have also received extra attention for several years.

For example, real estate group Dalian Wanda and conglomerate HNA, which owned hotels and airlines, were forced to sell properties to reduce their debt mountain. The State even took over insurer Anbang.

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